It’s at this time of year that I reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice and why they did it. Moreover, what motivated the soldiers of America’s past to take up arms and put their lives on the line?
This, we cannot know, not in every case. We can surmise though, that many might nod in agreement when Ronald Reagan said these words in his “A Time for Choosing” speech:
“You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin – just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well, it’s a simple answer after all.”
This was a sharp rebuke to those who suggested we should just leave Communist regimes like the Soviet Union have their way, and not antagonize them by building up our defenses here and abroad to contain their hegemony. To Reagan, and many of his generation, communism, and socialism equaled slavery– not to a particular person, but to the state. What would the people of that era not so long ago make of the acceptance of Marxism and of collectivism we see among so many today? They would be shocked that Marxism, under the guise of Critical Race Theory, would be not just tolerated, but taught in today’s military. They would be horrified at the go-along-to-get-along attitude towards Communist China, and the willingness on the part of so many to stay silent at the genocide, reeducation camps, and lack of personal privacy being perpetrated in that country, all in the name of box office receipts, television deals, and cheap labor. They might marvel at the reckless disregard the current government has for mounting debts, and their blatant attempts to bribe the people with the own money. They would be disappointed to see such a large percentage of the population blithely ignore the specter of inflation for their small slice of one multi-trillion dollar “stimulus” package after another. When those brave men enlisted in the military, would they have fought nearly as hard for the country we have now, where free speech is a privilege doled out by corporate oligarchs? Where the freedom of religion that so many fought and died for could be taken away with such ease for the cause of safetyism?
Millions of Soviets died in WWII for Rodina, the homeland. How much of this one wonders, was to preserve the collectivist state, and how much was simply to protect their loved ones? Assuming that for the most part, the latter was true, what of future generations of Americans? Will they, should the leftist have their way, and establish some sort of socialist or neo-fascist state be reduced to fighting for their homeland, with not much cause to spill a drop of blood for whatever collectivist ideology takes the place of individual freedom? What would be the rallying cry used to motivate persons to pick up arms in such a place? “FOR EQUITY!”? “FOR THE COLLECTIVE GOOD!”? or “DEATH TO THE INDIVIDUALISTS!”? Sure, future Americans might fight to protect their loved ones, or from annihilation, as surely the Soviets did, and the N. Koreans would do if attacked by some foreign adversary. Hopefully, America will never see a generation, so evil, so brainwashed into the Marxist ideology, that anyone would be willing to take up arms, die, and even kill for so wicked a political system. Hopefully, should any Americans have to die in battle again, that it will always be for the original patriotic cause of our Founders who risked and sometimes gave their last breath for the cause of Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.